IDENTIFICATION OF DISTRESS IN CANCER PATIENTS
Martina Ivanova, Stanislava Peneva and Nikolay Conev
ABSTRACT: Introduction: Distress is a significant health problem and still remains unrecognized in many cancer centers . The nurse working in the oncology field also plays role in the process of screening. Nowadays the screening mechanism and the part of the different participants, medical care providers, is still developing and needs more discussions. The interest about distress screening in oncology patients is increasing rapidly. However there are also for difficulties in applying and understanding the screening problems.
The aim of the present study is to determine and identify the level of distress in cancer patients by applying validated questionnaires.
Materials and methods: Questionnaire method - using a standard questionnaire to determine the baseline level of distress in patients diagnosed with cancer (before the start of the chemotherapy - neoadjuvant, adjuvant or first line of chemotherapy). We also used a standard questionnaire to determine the level of distress after the completion of the prescribed chemotherapeutic treatment. Medical and statistical methods were used for analyzing the collected data.
Results: The following factors are associated with a higher risk for high levels of distress in cancer patients – unmarried status (OR 5.3, 95% CI, 1.2-21.3; p = 0.02), poor performance status (OR 0.46, 95% CI, 0.26 -0.8; p = 0.006), lung cancer (OR 4.9, 95% CI, 2.1-11.3; p = 0.001), breast cancer (OR 2.7, 95% CI, 1.2-6.1; p = 0.01. Patients with metastatic or non-metastatic stages of the disease have similar levels of distress.
Conclusion: An area is set for the nurse and the attending physician to inform the patients about the stage of the disease and the possibilities for treatment. This will lead to reducing levels of distress and improving quality of life of cancer patients.
Keywords: nurse, distress, cancer patients, screening